McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

National News

August 28, 2013

ACLU warns Kentucky schools about Bible giveaways

FRANKFORT, Ky. — The American Civil Liberties Union says some Kentucky public schools have allowed Bibles to be given to students during school hours, and it is warning school districts to end the practice or risk a lawsuit. 

In a letter sent this week, the Kentucky chapter of the ACLU claims that The Gideons International has been giving Bibles to students for years in some elementary schools, and few districts had policies governing who is allowed to pass out items to students. 

The ACLU contends that allowing the Bible giveaways violate the First Amendment, which prohibits laws respecting an establishment of religion. The letter urges school districts to adopt a policy to prevent a court challenge.

The ACLU's investigation was prompted by reports from parents, spokeswoman Amber Duke said.

"We had been going on a case-by-case basis by contacting the districts and sending letters outlining the law and constitutional issues," she said.

One of the complaints was from a parent of a child in Worthington Elementary School in the Raceland-Worthington district, near the Kentucky-Ohio border, Duke said. The parent contacted the ACLU in November 2012, saying representatives of the Gideons were allowed in the classroom to give out Bibles.

"It had been a tradition," said Raceland-Worthington School District Superintendent Larry Coldiron. "Whether it was right or wrong, it had been allowed to go on for years in our school system."

Based on its open records requests, the ACLU contends the Gideons "intentionally exploited districts' lack of a centralized decision-maker for these types of requests by specifically instructing its members to seek approval for their in-school Bible distribution efforts 'at the lowest level of authority and progress higher only as may be required.'"

The ACLU also said the Gideons discouraged members from seeking school-board approval "because of the potential for unfavorable publicity by the news media."

Text Only | Photo Reprints
National News
Seasonal Content
AP Video
Raw: Japanese Soldiers Storm Beach in Exercises Raw: Weapons Fire Hits UN School in Gaza Raw: Rocket Launches Into Space With Cargo Ship Broken Water Main Floods UCLA Two Women Narrowly Avoid Being Hit by Train In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast New Sanctions on Key Sectors of Russian Economy Crayola Announces Family Attraction in Orlando US Ready to Slap New Sanctions on Russia Kerry: Not Worried About Israeli Criticism Boater Rescued From Edge of Kentucky Dam Girl Struck by Plane on Florida Beach Dies Rodents Rampant in Gardens Around Louvre House to Vote on Slimmed-down Bill for Border Looming Demand Could Undercut Flight Safety Raw: 2 Shells Hit Fuel Tank at Gaza Power Plant Raw: Massive Explosions From Airstrikes in Gaza Giant Ketchup Bottle Water Tower Up for Sale Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue
NDN Video
Weird 'Wakudoki' Dance Launches Promotional Competition Sadie Doesn't Want Her Brother to Grow Up Chapter Two: Designing for Naomi Watts Broken Water Main Floods UCLA "Maxim" Hotness! See Jessica Alba's Sizzling Spread Two women barely avoid being hit by train Orlando Bloom and Justin Bieber Reportedly Came To Blows In Ibiza Meet the Man Behind Dumb Starbucks Chris Pratt Adorably Surprises Kids at a 'Guardians of the Galaxy' Screening NOW TRENDING: Peyton Manning dancing at practice "The Bachelorette" Makes Her Decision Thieves pick the wrong gas station to rob Golden Sisters on '50 Shades' trailer: 'Look At That Chest!' Staten Island Man's Emotional Dunk Over NYPD Car - @TheBuzzeronFOX GMA: Dog passes out from excitment to see owner Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted 'Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1' Sneak Peek Florida Keys Webcam Captures Turtles Hatching Morgan Freeman Sucks Down Helium on 'Tonight Show' Robin Wright Can Dance! (WATCH)
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.